Sunday, 13 June 2021

Thinking Out Loud

Hello Friends!

We've had days of sea fog, also known regionally as a haar, har, hare, harl, sea fret, and many other things depending where you live.   I just call it grey and cold!  It's finally lifted, so hopefully we'll see some better days ahead.  I'd love my oriental poppies to get a chance.

So, my friends, I haven't asked in a while, but how are you doing now?   Have you been vaccinated yet?  Are you still wearing a mask?  How does getting back to whatever state of normal we're in make you feel?  What makes you concerned, and what doesn't over how we are moving forward?

I found I was starting to settle a bit as we eased out of lockdown, but now, suddenly, our peninsula is heaving with tourists.  Everywhere you turn, it's chock a block, full to bursting with strangers.  Worse, they think it's business as usual, no social distancing or awareness, very few wearing masks.  Yesterday I overheard a couple standing on the pavement outside a shop say they weren't going into shops as masks were required to be worn.  They even questioned it might be the law!  Hello! It is the law.

Numbers are on the rise again and they're talking of halting the easing of the current lockdown.   When will this cycle end?

On the plus side, I've had my second vaccine, so now it's three weeks and counting down to hopefully the best protection this will give.  However, I am not instilled with the confidence of many, and I am not alone in remaining wary of others.  Even once vaccinated we're being told to continue to observe Hands, Face, Space with anyone outside our bubble.

For a long time I have said I can't draw.  Words are powerful tools, so I've now changed my mindset.  I now say, "I can draw, just not very well . . . yet."  This is why my ICAD submissions this year are all drawn, either with pencil, brush, or marker, freehand. Practice!  No hiding place for mistakes.  It's quite a challenge.

In recent years I often found myself spending hours every day on each card.  I then began to question this.  Hours of work on a cheap, disposable piece of low quality card just didn't make sense.  That level of work and effort deserved better.  So, I am setting a time limit of no more than 30 minutes actual working time per card {I do allow extra time for paint to dry}.

Then I got to thinking about mutability as part of art practice.  Without going too deep on this, think about Antony Gormley's "Another Place" on Crosby Sands, which is subject to corrosion and change through an endless circle of the tide and the elements.  If you ever get a chance to see it, it is spectacular.  Change is part of art, and sometimes those changes happen to major, globally important art works; even the act of putting those first marks down is change, so it's time to stop being precious over the quality of the paper.  It's part of the deal.

It's a challenge working on an index card, it's such cheap, inferior, paper on which nothing reacts how you expect it to, and certainly nothing like you get on proper artist quality paper, whether it's water colour paper, pastel paper, Yupo, or anything else.  Index cards are so absorbent it's easy to rub a hole in it, and you can't blend, or move your mediums around easily. Alcohol inks just seep in and stay put. Not much fun in that, they're designed to be blended.  And, no two packs of index cards are the same.  It is, though, a good way to do some mark making, and if it doesn't work out, well, it's only a penny or two lost on the card, not £££'s on a sheet of water colour card stock.  Swings and roundabouts; roundabouts and swings.

By sticking to "dry" mediums, I am also keeping my cards flat.  The minute you put anything wet on an index card {glue, gesso, acrylic} in any quantity, your card just buckles and rolls up, and that makes it more difficult to work the curved surface.  In previous years I've used a lot of gesso or acrylic to give me a non absorbent surface and spent ages flattening my cards out.

In light of this, I may fulfil a promise I made to rework some of my favourites on proper watercolour paper or card.  I already want to rework several that I've done to date, not just from this year!  However, in keeping with the ICAD ethos, this won't happen until after this year's challenge is over.

So far, I've worked from my own, original photographs, but for this next one I drew from an actual stem picked from the garden.

6/61 Quaking Grass 


A Bunnies' Ears cactus.  

This one wasn't easy as I used water colour paint {Inktense} and index cards are cheap and tend to dissolve easily.


A couple of cactus pals in Inktense with Posca and fine liner


Monstera, or Swiss Cheese Plant
Although I don't own one of these now, I have had several in the past and with trying to find 61 different things growing in my cottage garden and house plants, everything helps!  Graphitint paints

Even the weeds get drawn! Mind, this convolvulus, or Morning Glory, also called Bindweed, can be spectacular with it's pristine, white flowers.

I drew this using the negative space technique with alcohol pens and Posca.


Feeling rather tired, possibly after my vaccination, so just used a Brusho ground with a line drawing for a stylised Arum Lily

Daisies, inspired by my lawn, of course.  Inktense wash, Posca pens

As I type this, it's just about 8:00 a.m. and already it's 22C in my living room.  The sun hasn't even come around the cottage yet, the doors and windows are open, curtains closed, and it's going to be scorchio, I think!

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well


  1. You CAN draw - really well, and I love the Bindweed card and the daisies.

    As to the covid stuff, I only wear a mask now in shops and feel safe everywhere. But Oh My Goodness we now have such busy roads and I think I'll avoid heading to the coast all summer

    1. Thank you. I do tend to draw some things better than others, though. A lot depends on the medium too. We get regular daily traffic updates. On the weekends local car parks are full by 11 a.m.! Best to stay home.

  2. Your ICADs are always works of art, I love them all, you draw very well! People are getting careless here, too, In the Altstadt of Düsseldorf and other places they gather in hundreds and just ridicule the police trying to control things, or even worse, get openly aggressive - a bad situation. Let's keep taking care! Hugs, Valerie

    1. Thank you. oh, the aggression is really showing the sad side of humanity, isn't it? I fear for where it will all end. Stay safe, my friend!

  3. I enjoyed looking at all your ICADs and believe me you can draw. The bindweed and daisies are lovely and I really liked the first drawing from life of Quaking Grass.

    Pleased you have now had your second vaccine. Must admit I don't really feel that much safer after vaccinations and are still being very careful and only go where I feel comfortable. As you say the problem is so many just don't seem to understand social distancing. The increase in cases is disconcerting and all we can do is take "small steps" and just do what we feel safe doing. Take care.

    1. Thank you, yes, I think I draw some things better than others, and some of the drawings capture the essence, others are more realistic.
      I know how difficult it is for you, wanting to get back out and explore, but not yet feeling safe enough to do what we'd love best. By now, you will know English lockdown is slightly extended, must read the details!

  4. Your artwork is all lovely. Do you have to use index cards? How about some quality card stock that you cut into index card-sized pieces?

    It does seem like everyone is bulling on with life these days. And I think it's just because we're all so tired of living this pandemic existence. We've had such confusing messages given to us. Even after being vaccinated, I feel a bit confused about how to proceed. We're all looking at each other for help in knowing what to do next. We're all pretty much winging it, I think. If the numbers start going up again here I imagine people will start social distancing and masking again. Take care and stay well!

    1. Thank you. It's often been questioned over the card, but the spirit of the challenge is to use only index card of choice. Many thousands take part across the world, and everyone sticks to index cards. Coating with gesso is permitted.
      English easing of lockdown has just been slowed this morning, not sure how it affects Wales. Must go read! With so many variants now, some really nasty ones, it's a huge and ongoing worry.

  5. I agree with the folks above, you can draw, Deb! I really like the variety of mediums and featured plants. My favorite is the Arum Lily--what a stunning use of colors, my friend. I'd love to see that enlarged and featured hanging. Looks like a museum piece to my eye.
    After having had both vaccines for months now, I must admit I am still being careful---wearing a mask when out and about, even though I'm seeing very few of them now. Our state is lifting all restrictions at the end of the month. Not sure that's a wise idea. Take care and enjoy the new week. xoxo

    1. Thank you my friend {and it's lovely to see you!} The Arum was done in a very lackadaisical mode as I was simply too tired after my second vaccine. It was a push and I nearly skipped a day.
      The easing of lockdown in England has been halted, and scientists say a third wave may already have begun. We live in worrying times. Take care, my friend, and stay safe! xoxo

  6. I love the Morning Glory/Bindweed card! So pretty.

  7. I agree that bindweed is pretty when in flower but it is a real nuisance in the garden or in the allotment. Martyn, my sister and I have all been double vaccinated for a while now but I still am carrying on as I did pre-vaccination. I tend to be OK being in close proximity to people that I know but wary of strangers and avoid large groups and shops. The Delta variant is worrying. I just can't understand why when a threat is identified that they allow travel into the country for days before implementing quarantine rules. Maybe if they had the latest variant wouldn't now be on the rampage!

    1. Thank you. I am also behaving pre vaccination mode and cannot understand why anyone wouldn't do otherwise. The Delta variant is very worrying indeed and our border controls are virtually non existent. I daren't even begin to think where or when this will end.

  8. I've been banned from having the second jab because of the severity of my reaction to the first one. So, I'm only half vaccinated, and will be staying that way. At least I've finally - after a couple of months - reached the point where the only issues I have from my bad reaction to the jab are worse versions of existing issues (I've had to be switched to a stronger inhaler, for example) and I can do things that require a lot of mental focus without feeling like my head is going to explode, or like I'm going to either pass out or throw up. So, I'm doing loads better than I was, which is a relief. But, as I said, I can't have the second jab, so have to continue to be careful even once it's supposedly safe to return to pre-pandemic life. Luckily, I'm not big on being around a lot of people anyhow. I'd like to have the choice to go places back, but I don't mind that I'll nee to think carefully about where I'm going and when, since I'm quite happy to pick times when there will be fewer people to potentially run in to.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I remember you saying this. You had a very severe reaction indeed. I am so sorry it's still ongoing, so I don't think you have a choice anymore. Let's hope enough people uptake on the vaccine so you can piggy back on that, if it makes sense.

    2. Thanks. Yes, that makes sense, and that's what I'm hoping.

  9. Ummm -- what is this about your not being able to draw? STOP THAT TALK!!!! You draw just fine! In fact, better than fine. I like the cards very much -- and I know what you mean about crappy paper and different media. Very problematic.

    I'm fully vaccinated and a little more relaxed but I still wear my masks when I'm around people who protocols and vaccination status I don't know -- so I will be wearing it indefinitely at stores or in public. We had our Cork Poppers gathering Saturday for the first time in 18 months and I know their stories so I was OK with that. I'm not ready to eat inside a restaurant. Maybe outside. I worry about the crowds in the north but I'll probably stick pretty close to home when we finally get to the cottage to stay.

    1. Thank you. oh, I admit I can draw some things better than others, but on the whole it's a struggle and I love my eraser collection!
      I feel a little happier around people I know who've been double vaccinated, but not so around others. Looking forward to your summer at the cottage!


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